Day 3 and I am driving myself to radio! Whoop!
I need to put yesterdays Nurse debacle out of my head as I just can’t deal with it at the moment and my energies need to be focussed elsewhere. And I am still tired, so today my energy is focussed on my family and them alone.
Today is going to be an absolute trashing day. I have 8am radiotherapy, need to fly back home as quickly as traffic allows to pick up man cub and cub to then drive to an awards ceremony in Manchester.
So it turned out last week, that the cub was part of a group of eight (possibly?) little uns who had designed and made a beautiful piece (that’s all I know!) that represented showing racism the red card in football and they had been selected as winners of an award. It has taken myself and one of the other mamas a long time to get this much information, so we were still a wee bit in the dark about what is going on, but regardless we were going on a road trip!
I have had the calmest of journeys this morning. I have turned the music up loud, I cheated the traffic where I used to about seven years ago (!!), I didn’t get tooted at once, and I arrived at the hospital and managed to park the car in one swift reverse go. It was a breeze.
I’d made a fatal error again though. For ease and speed of collecting the cubs on my way back south and heading straight off to an awards event, I decided to get ‘full’ ready. Which comprised of a dress and stockings. Yep, you know the drill!!! This was not a well thought out plan and once again I was stood in a tiny cubicle staring into a full length mirror as I stripped off the dress and muttered FFS under my breath for the second time in such a scenario. I don’t seem to learn. All I can say is I had big knickers on. My only saving grace!!! Because while my bottom region is covered by the gown I still have to raise my knees and there’s a draught up there. These poor bloody radiographers. I mean, they obviously see every part off the human anatomy as cancer isn’t picky in it’s choice of location, but goodness me, you’d think I might have learned a lesson by now!
After a brisk five mins staring at the ceiling and being pulled and shoved into position, I am redressing and heading back out to get the cubs and head down the motorway an hour behind everyone else travelling and try to make it in time for an awards ceremony that we still don’t know much about. They were ready and waiting and we set off with coffee on tap!
Some three hours later and after walking a long way round a football stadium to get to the right entrance (I had helpfully managed to park in the carpark furthest away!), we made it. Security protocol piqued our thoughts that this might be an important event. Then arrival in the executive suite of the football stadium made us panic a little bit more. Turns out – this event is a yearly calendar event for ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ and is well attended by current and retired footballers who come to present awards to the kids who have submitted amazing works of art to get messages across with regard to racism. Yep – we were not suitably suited or booted for the occasion and mild panic had set in. Thankfully we had allies in another set of parents (who were suitably suited) to hide us from the shame!
Also, anxiety had kicked in big style. I have managed to cope with most new environments as they are always somewhat familiar – whether that be through the people I am meeting, or the location being local. This was neither. And I still look like utter crap. Bald (of the patchy variety, not the fashionable variety), no eyebrows, no eyelashes, puffy face, pale as dishwater, a bit bloated everywhere and pure chemo brain where the brain doesn’t quickly connect words anymore so I look like a bumbling idiot. And here I am, in a room full of strangers, looking my worst on a random Wednesday (!) and trying to supress that; as today is not about me, it is about my cub. This feeling is so alien to me. I really struggle with how to deal with it, but after a good half hour chat about general life with one of the other mamas I feel a wee bit ‘normal’ again, and less like other people might be looking at me. I mean, they may well be, they may well not be. But I’d stopped thinking about it so much which is something.
A stadium tour later for the man cubs and cubs (read that it was blatantly the man cubs who enjoyed it more), some fan swooning and photo opportunities with minor celebs and famous footballers the award part of the day kicked off. It was beautiful. Now our little cubs were in the first category and the hosts went to great efforts not to mention ‘first’ or ‘third’ prize which was so lovely. Off our little treasures marched to receive their bags of goodies (the cub is now the proud owner of a full blown – socks included – Celtic strip and her dada couldn’t be bloody happier!). What proceeded thereafter was a two hour award ceremony, no breaks, no let up, of awards for every age group in schools across the country, while footballers and those in the football industry added in flavours and thoughts on racism in the game. As adults my bottom started getting twitchy an hour in. For the five year olds, they were amazing. They managed (in the main) to stay fairly quiet and found distraction techniques between them (face pulling and blowing spit bubbles at one point!) to get through. But what an amazing day.
I think this was the first time the man cub and I have dealt with public recognition for what our cub has done (I mean I’m always super proud of her but I am biased as hell!). I’ve never felt pride like it and I know that there will be many times in her life that I am going to cry a lot more than I did today. But god, her stood there in her school uniform that is still way too big for her but they don’t do a smaller size, her hair wild as she takes after her mamas crazy curly locks (when I had hair!), her innocence about the magnitude of the message in what they had produced (see for yourself in the image above), and just general nonchalance of her surroundings. I could burst with utter pride.
As we left the stadium in torrential rain and headed to the car that I had parked ‘miles’ away (I took the blame, I had no choice, the man cub reminded me of it frequently), the cub was so excited and chattering so much about the day, that the trashing journey, the organisation of dealing with the trip, the break from the norm, the severe anxiety, the guilt that I wasn’t firing on all cylinders, was all forgotten in that instance.
We had an amazing day and we were going to remember this for a long time.